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Last Updated: Thursday, 28 February 2008, 16:50 GMT
Row over Nigeria nudity picture
A photograph of the Triumph newspaper showing an injured Habiba Garba
Habiba Garba supports the publication of her picture
A female Nigerian politician badly beaten by a local MP is standing by the publication of a revealing photograph showing her injuries in a hospital bed.

Habiba Garba told the BBC she wanted people to see the reality of violence against women in northern Nigeria.

But Kano State authorities say they have received complaints the picture breaks Muslim rules about nudity.

Labaran Abdu Madari, who beat Mrs Garba in front of witnesses and police last week, is in jail and yet to be charged.

I want to show the people of the world what that man did to me
Habiba Garba

Kano is one of 12 mainly Muslim northern states to have implemented Sharia law since Nigeria's return to civil rule in 1999.

The BBC's Mustafa Muhammad in Kano says the state-owned Triumph newspaper, which published the picture showing Mrs Garba's injuries, has a very small circulation and few people in Kano have heard about the incident.

But he says the editor of the paper may come under some pressure from government to resign for publishing it.

Hate campaign

"I want to show the people of the world what that man did to me," she told the BBC from her hospital bed in Kano city on Wednesday.


Mrs Garba, a women's leader in the All Nigeria People's Party (ANPP), alleged Mr Madari, a Kano State lawmaker for the People's Democratic Party, mounted a campaign of harassment against her.

She said that he paid youths to follow and heckle her after she switched political parties from the PDP.

They called her a "prostitute" and physically threatened her, she said.

Last week, she went to the police, who arrested one of the youths.

The politician heard about the arrest and came down to the police station where eyewitnesses told the BBC that he savagely beat Mrs Garba.

Mr Madari was arrested. He has not been granted bail and will appear in court to be charged early next month.


On Monday, the Triumph published the picture of Mrs Garba's injuries showing the area just under her armpit and the scars on her torso.

"A women's rights group came to the government to complain that her rights had been infringed by the publication," said Sule Yau Sule, spokesman for the state government.

The picture shows part of her naked torso, and as publishing nudity is forbidden under Sharia law it violates rights to privacy.

The government says it will investigate whether her consent was sought by the paper.

"If her rights have not been infringed we will drop it," Mr Sule said.

Mrs Garba had to have a blood clot removed from her abdomen, the Triumph reported.

"This attack is barbaric, animalistic," the paper quoted ANPP secretary Alhaji Rabi'u Bako as saying.

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